Cornell College 30 day response to the CARES Emergency Grant

Publish date: 5/7/2020

An acknowledgement that the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students

On April 9, 2020 Cornell College President Jonanthan Brand signed the Recipient’s Funding Certification and Agreement for the CARES ACT emergency financial aid grants to students. The agreement and accompanying request for $422,781 was then uploaded to the grants.gov website. Cornell College intends to use no less than 50 percent of the CARES Act Section 1800(a)(1) funding for emergency financial aid grants to students.

The total amount of funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Student.

The total amount of funds the Cornell College will receive for emergency financial aid grants to students is $422,781. A request for an additional $422,781, the institutional allotment from CARES Act Section 1800(a)(1) was submitted to the grants.gov portal on April 22, 2020.

The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter).

As of May 6, 2020 Cornell College has distributed $175,294 in emergency financial aid grants to students. We will continue to disperse these funds until they are exhausted.

The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

An estimated 752 fulltime Cornell College students are eligible to participate in Title IV (Higher Education Act of 1962 Section 484) programs is 752.

The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

As of May 6,2020 288 students had received a CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grant.

The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

In order to distribute the student funds, a committee was formed with representation from the Financial Assistance Office, as well as the Student Affairs and Academic Affairs Divisions. Its charge was to develop funding criteria, an application and review process, and a communication plan for students and their families. Additionally, the committee conducted research used to establish categorical grant amounts (e.g., the suggested amounts for housing support).

This committee met weekly to review applications and make award decisions.. Award details were relayed each week to business services staff who processed the emergency grant payments. For students who had previously established a direct deposit arrangement with the College, the grants were issued through direct deposit. The remaining students received a check mailed to their permanent address.

In order to support our highest need students, all Pell eligible students enrolled on and after March 23, 2020 received a $500 emergency grant to support their living expenses. Pell eligible students could also submit an application requesting up to an additional $1,000 for expenses related to disruption by the COVID pandemic.

All students and parents received an email alerting them of this emergency grant funding and describing the application process.

The following expenses were allowable for emergency grant funding:

  • Educational expenses
    • Internet access
    • Technology equipment needed for online learning
    • Books
  • Immediate basic needs
    • Temporary food insecurity
    • Living expenses
    • Emergency medical or dental procedures, expenses, co-pays for prescription medications
  • Travel expenses
    • Expenses to travel home after in-person instruction was cancelled and travel expenses to return to campus to retrieve their personal belongings.
    • Storage or shipping expenses for personal belongings
  • Other financial needs arising from individual and/or special circumstances (determined on a case-by-case basis)

In order to assist as many students as possible, emergency grants could not exceed $1,500 for a particular student. Award amounts were typically aligned with the requested amount , which was accompanied by an explanation and/or supporting documentation If a student’s requested amount seemed unusually high or low, , the award was adjusted to fall within committee-established, categorical funding ranges (see below). The committee reserved the right to request additional information from a student.

  • Computer - $650 - $750
  • Data/internet needs $75 per month total of $150
  • Food $200 per month
  • Housing needs $250-$500 per month total
  • Travel expenses non contiguous of state student - $350-$500
  • Travel expenses contiguous states - $150
  • Books - specific amount requested up to $150
  • Shipping - specific amount requested
  • Storage - specific amount requested
  • Medical - specific amout requested  

Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.

Email communication sent to all students

Dear students,

We know the transition to moving home and completing Blocks 7 & 8 online may have created financial challenges for many of you. We are committed to assisting you in continuing your education by making emergency grants available to help pay unforeseen, direct expenses related to the disruption of your education, room and board due to COVID-19.

There is a limited amount of funding available and priority will be given to students with demonstrated need.

Steps:

    1. To apply, complete our online request form. Please provide as much detail as possible to explain your request and the specific dollar amount you are requesting.
    2. Requests will be reviewed and responded to within one week of form submissions.
    3. Approved funds will be directly deposited using electronic funds transfer (EFT) if you have your banking information on file with the college for general refunds/reimbursements. (This is separate from the work study payroll.) If you do not have EFT set up for refunds, we will mail a check to your permanent address.

If you have any questions about the grants or approval process, please reach out to the financial assistance office at financialassistance@cornellcollege.edu or 319.895.4216.

Instructions provided to students on the online application form

We know the transition to moving home and completing Blocks 7 & 8 online may have created financial challenges for many of you. We are committed to assisting you in continuing your education by making emergency grants available to help pay direct expenses related to the disruption of campus learning due to COVID-19.

There is a limited amount of funding available and priority will be given to students with demonstrated need. These funds are intended to assist with unforeseen expenses related to the disruption in your education and room and board due to COVID-19.

While funds are limited, we will do our best to help as many students as possible. First priority will be given to students with demonstrated financial need. To ensure these funds are distributed as widely as possible, we anticipate that most grants will range between $25 and $500 with a cap of $1,500. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Financial support will be available until the funds are depleted.

If you have questions about completing this form, please email financialassistance@cornellcollege.edu

Please provide a statement describing the COVID-related hardship with specific costs and details.

Example:
I live in a rural area and do not have good internet so I use my phone as a hotspot for class sessions. However, I am running out of data before the end of the month and need $50 to increase my data plan.

How will I receive emergency funds?
If you are awarded funding, the funds will be deposited electronically with the banking information you have on file with the college for general refunds/reimbursement (separate from work study payroll records)

If you do not have direct deposit set up for refunds, a check will be mailed to your permanent home address. You may check what permanent home address we have on file using the college directory. You may update your permanent home address at that same link by selecting “update your information”.

After the student submitted their application the following message was sent to the student.

Dear Student:

We are pleased to inform you that your request has been reviewed and you will be receiving [insert dollar amount] in emergency grant funding. These funds will be directly deposited using electronic funds transfer (EFT) if you have your banking information on file with the college for general refunds/reimbursements (separate from the work study payroll records) or via check mailed to your permanent address, if you do not have EFT set up for refunds.

If a student was not approved for funding based on their request, a staff member reached out to that student and explained why their request did not meet the guidelines set forth to be eligible for funding.